Google shares slipped more than 1 percent Thursday after a couple of downgrades on word of a slowdown in European ad revenue, but one “Fast Money” pro remained bullish.
“I’m not disagreeing with taking money off the table,” OptionMonster cofounder Jon Najarian said. “As far as the U.S. advertising market going upside-down and slowing down, I think he’s got that 100 percent wrong.”
Najarian noted that NBC sold out Super Bowl ads before Thanksgiving to the tune of $3 million or more per 30-second commercial.
“That’s not a sign of advertisers not being willing to going out and spending that money. In fact, they’re going to get nearly $1 million per minute for Internet, for the digital stream of the Super Bowl. Now, I know it’s the Super Bowl, but come on,” he said. “If advertisers were hunkering down and hiding, then we wouldn’t be seeing this kind of performance.”
Clayton Moran, an analyst with Benchmark Capital, downgraded Google stock to “hold” from “buy,” citing softening advertising revenue abroad that could spread to the U.S. market.
“Channel sources have told us that the European online advertising market weakened severely in the fourth quarter, and that that weakness will persist through the first half of this year worse than expected,” he said.
Moran held a $700 price target for the stock, but cautioned on domestic ad spending. He also noted that YouTube was facing increasing competition and said Google still sought the right way to monetize its video-sharing site.
Google’s stock price closed down 1.38 percent at $659.01, more than $11 off its 52-week high.
“What was alarming to us were the U.S. indications for the first half of this year. The U.S. marketers are telling us that advertisers are very hesitant, that they’re very cautious entering the year and things are really slowing,” he said. “So, if the U.S. comes in and really starts to disappoint, that really will be harmful.”
Patty Edwards of Trutina Financial said she sold her stake in Google, citing not only the slowdown in Europe but also chart suggestions that the stock price had topped out.
“At some point in time, you just have to take some profits,” she said. “It was time for me to just bail out.”
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Trader disclosure: On Jan. 5, 2011, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: Najarian is long call spreads AAPL; Najarian is long call spreads BAC; Najarian is long call spreads C; Najarian is long call spreads JPM; Najarian is long call spreads ORCL; Najarian is long call spreads DNDN; Najarian is long call spreads PNC; Najarian is long call spreads FDO; Najarian is long call spreads DLTR; Najarian is long call spreads DG;
Trutina Financial is long AAPL
Trutina Financial is long ORCL
Trutina Financial is long GLD
Trutina Financial is long TAL
Trutina Financial is long COST
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